ASSURANCES

CHRIST’S ACCUSATIONS

We will not understand or rest in the assurance of GOD’s salvation if first we do not examine our motives and actions.  Actually, we must examine the motives for our actions.

For all of us who have labeled ourselves “Christians,” naturally set about fitting ourselves into that role. We default to making an effort to be “good Christians.”

We are concerned about that because of the natural pride in us.  Thus we make every effort to prove to others and ourselves that we are preforming the activities of a Christian.

Unfortunately little is discussed from our pulpits about “…unspiritual preoccupation with outward forms and ceremonies, while neglecting utterly the great moral verities of true religion” James Coffman (Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament, “Commentary on Luke 11:42”).

As I read the gospels I am stopped by CHRIST’s forcible language that condemn His listeners.  Why does He provoke?  The answer comes quickly to mind.

We easily slide into our natural mode described above.  Therefore, we must hear language that condemns.  We must have an accusing finger pointed at us telling us we are not on the Christian path we thought we were on.   To move toward Christianity and the peace of knowing we have the assurance from GOD that we are His we must, before anything else, recognize our sin. And that is the sin of being actors—acting like we are Christians but are not.

CHRIST’s convicting words: “…you…outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt 23:28 ESV).  “A man may appear clean without, who is unclean within; but outward purity will not avail in the sight of God, where inward holiness is wanting” Adam Clarke (The Adam Clarke Commentary, “Commentary on Matthew 23:25”).

We must check ourselves: do we make the decision of what good works we do—do we decide on them because we believe we have the ability to accomplish them successfully?  This is sin; we are operating with our born-with natural abilities.

“…the things done…may be good and godly…but if they are not undertaken in a spirit of complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit, then the flesh is the source of all…Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh.  Whatever one decides according to his pleasure in lieu of seeking the will of God emanates from the flesh….” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

If these words convict you, repent and ask GOD to change your heart.  Only a renewed heart can override the flesh, for flesh “never has the sense of utter dependency” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

SUPPLICATION

NON CHRISTIAN, RESISTERS

[We all have friends and family that do not want anything to do with Christianity so it is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

BACKSLIDERS CAN BE RESTORED

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 12.31.23 PM…FATHER, You restore souls (Ps 23:3). You convert a “soul from sin that it may not eternally perish” Adam Clarke (ref#15, [Ps 23:3]). You bring back life from destruction, heal backsliders, and restore them to Your favor (ref#15, [Ps 23:3]).

“He breaks down the hard heart, arrests the soul in its onward progress of departure, places upon it some powerful check, lays it low….” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, Sept 1st).

FATHER, I plead to You for the same power You used to initially draw ____ to take up again Your work in ____’s heart (ref#61, Sept 1st). Even though (he/she) presently plows a wicked way, reaps a crop of evil, and eats a salad of lies (Hos 10:13), You will kindly give (him/her) another chance to turn (himself/herself) around again.

It is encouraging to know that since ____ is not in the pit of hell, (he/she) is on the ground of mercy and that You, FATHER, see a way for (him/her) to escape when I see none. I will depend on You and call on You for You only give a promise of deliverance (ref#124, p89-90).

CONFESSION

I SIN KNOWINGLY BUT NOT WILLFULLY

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 10.25.35 AMFATHER, I grieve especially over the sins I commit knowing full well I’m disobeying You. Can You forgive me for such in-Your-face, blatant, rebellion?

 The book of Leviticus describes sacrifices for sins. But the sacrifices are only for unintentional sins (Lev 4:2). The writer of Hebrews says:

“…if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Heb 10:26 NKJV).

Yet, I, as well as other Christians, knowingly sin—even King David prayed that You keep him back from “…presumptuous sins…(Ps 19:13 NASB). FATHER, help me understand that I may sin knowingly, as King David did but that does not mean I sin willfully. Sinning willfully means sinning willingly. Sinning willingly means I sin out of my own glad choice with no intention of repenting. Adam Clarke’s Commentary brings meaning to Hebrews 10:26:

“A man may be overtaken in a fault, or he may deliberately go into sin, and yet neither renounce the Gospel, nor deny the Lord that bought him.” Adam Clarke (ref#15, [Heb 10:26]).

But, “if we sin willfully] If we deliberately…renounce the profession of the Gospel and the Author of that Gospel,…the…case must be utterly without remedy.” (ref#15, [Heb 10:26]).

When I do sin deliberately, my “case is dreary and dangerous but it is not hopeless; no case is hopeless but that of the deliberate apostate who rejects the whole Gospel system,…” (ref#15, [Heb 10:26]). And, all thanks to You, FATHER, that You have cemented in my heart never to reject the Gospel.

How I thank You, FATHER, that You give me the grace of confession. Yes, You have put in my heart the desire to repent. You have closed the gate behind me. Because You have made me Yours, I will never again sin willfully.

Though FATHER, drive me to fear sinning against You deliberately. Such actions remove me from Your presence. My iniquities always make a separation between You and me. My sins hide Your face so that You do not hear me (Isa 59:2).

LORD, I take hold of Your grace of repentance and use it to bring myself back into Your presence. And, FATHER, during this activity of repentance, sober me into remembering that even though I will never sin willfully, sinning knowingly is dreary and dangerous.